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Source: Massey University

Rubbish collected on the South Westland coastline.

A Massey professor has been in the South Island’s Westland District to assist in the Fox Landfill rubbish clean-up.

Extreme weather caused an erosion of an old Westland District Council rubbish dump beside the Fox River in South Westland on March 26. Rubbish floated downstream and washed up at least 40km along the South Westland coastline.

Professor Louise Chilvers, of Massey University’s Wildbase Wildlife Response Team, was on the scene last week to help develop a wildlife response plan to support the clean-up efforts for the long term recovery of the area with the Department of Conversation. The plan covered short and long term objectives for monitoring and responding to wildlife, in the event they become affected by the landfill rubbish.

“To date there have been no reports of wildlife impacted, which is absolutely fantastic. However it is important that the with risk of harm from the rubbish, and the response efforts, we continue to monitor wildlife to ensure ongoing minimum impacts,” says  Professor Chilvers.

Professor Chilvers was invited down to work alongside Maritime New Zealand’s’ National Response team, which usually deals with maritime incidents and marine oil spills. Professor Chilvers’ incident readiness and response training meant she could add her support to the team in managing the aftermath of this inland incident. 

The combined efforts and goodwill of volunteers, and both local and central government departments, means the response continues to make good progress. If a member of the public finds any wildlife that may appear to have been affected, they are advised to call the Department of Conservation on 0800 362 468.

Further updates are available on the South Westland Coastal Clean-up Facebook page